Pleasant Hill, CA — Fight to save Pleasant Hill Dome theater
By Carolyn Jones | Published by the SFChronicle.com
April 15, 2013
Pleasant Hill, CA – Doom for the Dome? Not quite yet.
Fans of a space-age, dome-shaped movie theater that sits right off Interstate 680 in Pleasant Hill have appealed to the City Council to block a developer’s plans to demolish it for a sporting goods store.
The council is scheduled to take up the matter on May 6, potentially overturning the planning commission’s approval of the project.
“The Dome means a lot to a lot of people,” said Martha Ross, a local resident who’s among those leading the preservation fight. “We need to do everything we can to try and save it.”
The Dome, officially called CineArts, opened in 1967 and is one of the only theaters in Contra Costa County to show independent and foreign movies. With its 50-foot arched roof, the Dome stands out among the 1970s-style ranch homes and shopping centers that have proliferated in that stretch of the suburbs.
But the Dome is also part of the Crossroads shopping center, which the city scheduled for renovation in its general plan. The developer, SyWest of San Rafael, intends to raze the Dome and replace it with a Dick’s Sporting Goods.
A spokesman for SyWest, reached Thursday, had no comment on the appeal.
Meanwhile, fans of the Dome have held rallies, packed city meetings, circulated petitions, launched a Facebook page and hounded officials in hopes of averting the wrecking ball.
In their appeal to the council, they argue that the city did not adequately consider the Dome’s historic and cultural value when officials OKd the project. The Dome, they said, is the gateway to Pleasant Hill, a highly visible landmark that gives the relatively young city some character.
“The Dome is a landmark of culture and cool,” according to the appeal. “It can continue to put Pleasant Hill on the map and make it a destination for people … who want to enjoy a kind of cinematic and cultural experience they can’t get anywhere else in the East Bay suburbs.”
The engineering firm that designed the Dome has also joined the fray. The unusual construction – which includes no center pole supporting the top of the dome – is worthy of recognition, according to Michael Jordan, a structural engineer at Liftech Consultants in Oakland.
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